Traitors to Mankind reviews

_DooM_ on July 7th, 2007

Temple of Baal - Traitors To Mankind

I am unfond of Christianity and some of the people who practice it, as well. So something does appeal to me about the single mindedness of some black metal acts. In true metal fashion they use hyperbole to drive home their disgust with whatever is bugging them, and for many of them that thing is the religion of choice in the West. But you know, everything has a shelf life. I mean, yeah, I used to laugh about burying fundies in their own entrails and all that too, but frankly they are a little too real in my country at this point for mere scorn. I am rather of the opinion it’s time to grow up on this issue.

So another dose of “rape the son of God in his spear hole” is sounding like a four year old threatening to break his toys if mommy doesn’t buy him a puppy to me. Just shut up already. But if you aren’t going to shut up, then I guess you can at least paint your crappy word pictures over the sound of well recorded punkened black metal. Quite unlike the boring sewer trout that was Surrender of Divinity, this stuff is where metal belongs: loud, decently - if recklessly performed and at least fairly heavy. You can hear what the guitarist is playing, you can follow along with the beat the drummer and bassist are keeping, and the singer doesn’t sound like an enema bomb in an aluminum can. It’s like heaven with bondage bars.

The best thing about this album is the abandon. I have a soft spot for reckless playing, as long as it doesn’t become idiotic. If you can play your shit and you choose to put moment over method, you are making good things happen, more often than not. Compositionally, they are breaking no new ground. Kind of what the Crown would have sounded like if they went black, or Immortal if they were punkier. But the spark of ferocity keeps things from becoming overplayed. The tempos range from frozen moshing to blast and roll to hateful dirges. The production is a little on the top heavy side, but it fits the band’s immediacy.

The bottom line is this is an entertaining bit of bile that, while full of clichés delivers the thing that metal fans need most from their records: fucking METAL. Abrasive, hateful yet never succumbing to the pull of the obnoxious uberunderground, this record pounds heavy nails into the flesh of whatever martyr you decide works for you. Do not expect perfection, but do expect passion.

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DeviousDarren on April 27th, 2007

Elite Thrashin' French Black Metal

TEMPLE OF BAAL belongs to the excellent black metal scene coming out of France. Other quality bands from this scene include EVOHE, ANTAEUS, and BLOODTHORN. The group’s 2005 effort, ‘Traitors to Mankind’ features a variety of extreme metal styles including arctic-cold, tremolo-picked black metal, slow moving, hateful power-chord-heavy black metal in the tradition of DARKTHRONE, and an old school black thrash attack.

The album’s opening track “Living Fleshthrone” is a prime example of how the band masterfully transitions pace and style. This track starts fast and furious, grabbing the listener by the crotch with low end, muffled speed picking. The SLAYER-inspired thrash soon bridges into a catchy, old school NWOBHM type style tailor-fitted for pumping your spiked wrist and banging your head for Satan! Near the middle of this track the group slows it down to a doomish dirge not unlike those heard by MAYHEM and SATYRICON during their slower moments. “Bleeding Thoughts” and its predecessor “Under the Spell”are other tracks for thrashers to check out. “Under the Spell” retains an authentic classic black metal sound. I had to do some fact checking because I could have sworn this was a VENOM cover. Nope, just TEMPLE OF BAAL playing classic black metal!

The album’s inherit dark feeling combined with plenty of cutting, horrific tremolo picking marks this album as unarguably black metal. In fact, each song contains one great black metal riff after another, with very little if no filler. The vocals are mostly mid range, bestial, sickly throat emanations that toe the line between death and black metal. In other places vocalist Amduscias raises the pitch of his demonic voice just a notch or two. The drums are loud and hit hard. During the slower bar chord strikes, drummer Antares fills in the gap with excellent rolls. He also makes his presence known during the faster moments with thunderous blast beats.

The venomous playing of TEMPLE OF BAAL would not come across quite as powerful if not for the sound engineering work of Ludovic Tournier who is know for his work with another great French black metal band, HIMINBJORG. Also, fans of their masochistic countrymen, ANTAEUS will be happy (black metal fans aren’t supposed to be happy!) to know that MKM of the said group wrote the lyrics to “Death Inquisition.” ‘Traitors to Mankind’ solidifies TEMPLE OF BAAL as one of the better black metal bands hailing from one of the best black metal scenes in the world.

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Traitors to Mankind track list

1Living Fleshthrone03:04
2Traitors to Mankind02:37
3Graveyard of Disgust05:18
4Bleeding Thoughts05:28
5Under the Spell02:08
6Visions of Carnage02:04
7Crawling in Blood and Puke02:47
8Bitter Days05:58
9Death Inquisition02:45
10Flames of Baal04:25

Traitors to Mankind lineup

ArkdaemonBass, Vocals (backing)
AmdusciasVocals, Guitars